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   Articles | How-Tos | Ask the Expert   

Helpful Hints before you begin...

  • Once you start designing, you must finish designing. You cannot stop and go back to finish where you stopped.
  • You can design a deck with up to two levels.
  • You cannot place a wall at the bottom of the screen because it will obstruct the 3D view.
  • The minimum deck height from the ground is 24", and the maximum deck height is 96".
  • The program puts no more than one step between the two levels of any deck.
  • The smallest length of any side of the deck is two feet.
  • The round and square design shapes cannot be any closer than two feet from the deck edge.
  • If you choose rails, the designer puts them all the way around the deck.
  • Be sure to click the "SUBMIT MY DESIGN NOW" button AND the "CLOSE" button on the following page.
  • If you choose rails, the rails will be the same on both levels.
  • You can delete a deck project only after you have submitted it.

Step 1

The first step in designing your dream deck is to download the necessary software. You will need Adobe Acrobat and Java 1.2. Adobe Acrobat 3.0 or 4.0 is necessary to print the worksheet and the specification kit, and Java 1.2 is necessary to run the Deck Designer program. Both programs can be downloaded from the Site Resources page.

Step 2

The system requirements for Adobe Acrobat 4.0 are:

  • i486™ or Pentium® processor-based personal computer
  • Windows® 95, Windows 98, or Windows NT® 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or later
  • 10 MB of available RAM on Windows 95 and Windows 98 (16 MB recommended)
  • 16 MB of available RAM on Windows NT (24 MB recommended)
  • 10 MB of available hard-disk space
  • 50 MB of additional hard-disk space for Asian fonts (required for Acrobat Reader 4.0 CD-ROM, otherwise optional)

When you first download Adobe Acrobat 4.0, the program brings up a licensing agreement window that does not show as the front window. It is behind the browser window. You must accept the licensing agreement before you are able to use the program. Minimize the other windows on your desktop until you see the licensing agreement and accept it.

Step 3

The system requirements for Java 1.2 are:

  • Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0 on Intel hardware
  • 486/DX or faster processor
  • 32 megabytes RAM minimum, 48 megabytes RAM recommended
  • 65 megabytes of free disk space

After you download Java, you may want to confirm that the installation is correct by trying to view the applets on the Sun Java site. Scroll down the page until you see the Educational Applets and Utilities. Click on any of them. If you cannot see the picture, your java installation may not have completed. If you have problems with the installation, go to Java FAQs.

Be sure to close your Internet connection and all programs running before you install the program. If you continue to have problems, uninstall, then re-download, and reinstall the Java program. Be sure to reboot your computer after installation.

To uninstall Java:

  1. From the Start menu, point to settings, and click Control panel.
  2. Select Add/Remove programs.
  3. Select Java 2 Runtime Environment.
  4. Click Add/Remove.
  5. Answer Yes in the box that asks you if you really want to do this.

Refer to Sun's Java 1.2 Installation Instructions or customer support.

Step 4

Click on Download Now in the middle of the screen. This downloads your Deck Designer worksheet. The worksheet asks you specific information that you need when you run the Deck Designer program, such as live load, static load, beam size etc.

Step 5

To print the worksheet, move the little hand with your mouse until it is over the printer icon. The hand will turn into your regular pointer. Click the printer icon.

Step 6

Do the research necessary to answer ALL of the questions. You may have to check your local codes and building requirements first. After you have all of the answers, you can draw your deck to scale with some accessories. This is very helpful when you use the Deck Designer.

Step 7

To begin designing your deck, scroll down the page where you printed your worksheet, to the naming section. Type a name for your project. Here are some tips to use to name your project.

  • Do not use the same name more than once: duplicates are not allowed.
  • Use only letters and numbers in the name.

Click Start Your Project!

The Deck Designer program begins with a brief introduction to the program and a short disclaimer.

Step 8

The next step is to enter the information from your Deck Specification Worksheet, and read general instructions for customizing your deck. Follow the Deck program to design your deck. When you finish, click the "SUBMIT MY DESIGN NOW" button. Click the "CLOSE" button, to be returned to the MyProjects page.

Step 9

Under the MyProjects heading is the name of your project. On the right side of the screen, in the MyProjects section is the name of your project with a screw on the left side. If the screw is turning, your project is still processing. To check the status of your project, click the Check Project button.

Step 10

Under the Project Options section, click the View Report button. Your report will open in Adobe Acrobat. The hand that you see is the pointer in the Adobe Acrobat program. Click on the printer icon next to the red Adobe icon to print your worksheet. You can also print the How-To the same way.

Thank you for using our custom Deck Designer!





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